TYLER, Texas (KETK) – This year, the deadline to file your taxes is April 18 instead of the standard April 15.

In the last two years of the pandemic, millions of families have relied on their tax returns to tap into critical government relief. There’s much to look out for to get your correct refund. For one, many Americans started receiving advance payments for the child tax credit last year. 

“Taxpayers will need to know the advance payments they’ve received already in order to report that on their return for 2021 and be able to claim any remaining credit,” said UT Tyler Lecturer of Accounting and CPA, Jennifer Reynolds.

Another thing to look out for is the economic stimulus payment which the third round was paid out in 2021.

“Quite a few people never received it because they were dependent the year before or their income requirement was different. So, if they did not receive that economic payment in 2021, they can claim that as something called the Recovery Rebate Credit on their 2021 tax return,” said Reynolds.

Even if you do not owe taxes, filing a 2021 return can help you claim that credit. The Better Business Bureau of East Texas offers ways to file your taxes safely this year.

“One of the ways to make sure that you don’t get scammed is to simply file your taxes early. This gives scammers less of an opportunity to try and file under your name,” said President and CEO of BBB of East Texas, Mechele Mills.

Due to all the new changes this year, tax experts are recommending hiring an accountant to help you file your return.

“It’s always better if you make contact with the person your choose to work with. So, it’s best to do your research first and then choose a creditable tax preparer. Another thing to consider is how accessible are they,” said Mills.

Ideally, your tax preparer should either be a certified public accountant, tax attorney, or a certified e-file provider. In case the IRS finds any errors or in case of an audit, make sure that you are able to contact your preparer throughout the year.

Reading tax preparation service contracts helps ensure you understand how much the service will cost so you aren’t spending too many of your hard-earned dollars getting your taxes done. Whether you file your taxes on your own or through a professional, always keep a copy of your return as well.

You might be a victim of identity theft if you happen to receive a duplicate return in the mail or if a notice arrives stating you received wages from somewhere you have never worked.  If any of these situations occur, contact the IRS fraud hotline at 1-800-829-0433. To report other information to the IRS, click here.